Saturday, October 29, 2016

one way to ache

make a sound and throw it out
see if it comes back to you the same
or slightly changed
speak like the dolphins
or less than


and listen

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Homogeneous Infinite Now

As we descend the stairs
from the plum stained pudenda
we are shuttled from the dark.

   Then each is patted on the back
and equipped with a precious jar
of bees and honey.

Our greedy glares
ingurgitate the world
through each of our own golden cruets
never fully aware
there's but one sweet light
gazing into a mirror.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Our Mortal Muscles Which Call to Query

There's a fruit. Or perhaps it's an animal.
We're always trying to enter it. 

Cut through the rind, signals the foreman, 
and so we slice into it with knives

which protrude from our woody brains and abdomens. 
The fathers advise to force against the flank of fibers,

Use those ankles and your hippocampal vise,
endeavour against all integument.

The mothers whisper wetly into our ears and eyes akin to tickles 
for us to ambrosially descend beneath skin's stitching. 

Here we're ticks sunk into the pink thigh. Warm. Happy. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

red spill, white spill, blackness, perspective, notes

i am very close to my son as i wake him, within his heat zone, pulling the quilts from his shoulders, when i notice red flecks upon the pooling of fabrics. blood is the reckless first answer to what is always a question in our minds.

then i back away from him to appraise him more studiously. the flecks are equal apertures and are equidistant. art? yes, man's hand, culture, the red splashes tight darnings of thread my mother-in-law (stitched to me through marriage) has placed there. no chaos of blood after all. but order.


each weary man and woman blooms painfully forward
each stem strikes the earth
and is held firmly inside eternity

spilled milk

my ex-husband used to shriek
when the children accidentally (like clockwork) spilled their milk
over the books of their childhood


after the blare of daytime
night's vast black order
swallows chaos

Sunday, October 23, 2016

the mouse trap

little mouse who i captured but did not kill
i wanted to write you a long story
instead, you moved into me


this is true
i caught a mouse 
this is true
he was not dead
this is true
i set him free
this is true
he died

days after the first mouse was pulled back into the soil by lengths of grass
after the first mouse was pelleted by rain and embedded
after the first mouse lost his chance to nibble and amble
after he lost the skin of fear off his black eye

i, wandering through the woods, came upon an abandoned hut
on the table was a broken cup which spilled sky for every meal
on the floor a honey tin full of bright pink insulation
the doors were blown wide open

a house is many things
sometimes the witness

Saturday, October 22, 2016

a meal of meditation not at the Zhongli night market

once a week i wind my way 
through the spectacle of make-shift lights, tarped tents,

through waves of writhing miàntiáo stands
with their piping hot noodles sculpted in clean white bowls

to shots of white shallots and bok choy,
to the sure swerve of the silver Teppanyaki counter

which is luminous itself, beneath the pure white moon,
on the outskirts of the shanty-like food town,

with a vicious precision.
the cook is cold, grim,

performs his proficient gestures never for me, 
nor for anyone else,

but alive to what shines in his knife,
a business man opening and closing files,

the work in each file compiling his life,
all red glistening meat yielding abruptly to his knife,

complying, and he to it too, 
or perhaps they are but one mechanism, 

man made machine.

this man does not make food 
or offer good omens,

certainly not some kind of affected entertainment,
but makes, i argue with myself, a theatre of enough,

his wife folded, bent and balanced behind him 
in the dark, upon her skinny ankles. 

what passes between them is bland, 
sparse spiceless talk,

and things like bean sprouts, garlic,
cabbage, thinly sliced capsicum, spring onions,

simply: the fare of orders.

and yet it is here i am drawn week after week,
not to the bustling pipes and pinks of the Zhongli night market.

the family dog arrives, hovers, hobbles, then slouches nearby like a spectre,
and then weakens to waste beneath the table as i quietly eat,

not begging but resting near a serrated edge i can almost see
but for the night's roiling up like a fog from the wet cold concrete,

less dog than what we wàiguó rén usually perceive 
but more creaturely, in a constant state of deprivation.

i could feed him, labouring to breathe by my feet,
or not, but i can never feed him enough,

so i never proffer one scrap.

learning my chop sticks 
i balance each bite to my mouth.

none of us ever chats, 
nor even tries to.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why, For Me, Grass is Vastly Amusing

after Andrew Wyeth

There are only two ways of being
pick one:

Be ok crossing that field alone
Or feel you need that dog, that gun

Thursday, October 20, 2016

do all acts from before fall away to the one moment?, notes

my friend, whom i have known for thirty-some years meets my daughter whom she has been aware of for sixteen. my daughter smiles and retains her composure letting only one glyph of herself escape fully and fly between them like a crow. and yet between their pupils there is immeasurable story telling and knowledge.

my friend sums up to me my daughter with one word, poised.

i would like to know one cup of tea like this.

more so, i would like to be one taste of that tea.

the summer was drought-long
now autumn rain bounces off every surface
each drop pregnant

i'd like to laugh in the right measure
cry equally so

hear me from the correct distance and i'm burning in silence

basho makes another sixteen mistakes today
the clock runs thin
he manages one good deed

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

it's not hallowe'en yet and yet we think of christmas (gifts), notes

my son comes downstairs in october and says, i can't wait for christmas.

i am on the couch and alone and the downstairs is so quiet i can hear the clock tick.

we have, in the last few years, lost many elements of christmas. for instance, with poverty and plenty gifts are no longer naive but extremely complicated.

i ask him what it is he likes about christmas, knowing it is not the acquiring of christmas presents.

he shrugs his shoulders and says, just everything.

of course he was away this time last year...

i ask again for him to clarify.

he hovers at the tip of understanding, well, how like it annoys us all that you listen to christmas music. that! you listening to christmas music!

even in the dark of october nights
christmas lights cast light
through memory

one dinner when i was twelve
we had liver and rice pudding which i hated!
i remember this fondly

which comprise the gift,
 the difficult years
or the easy ones?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Moon, the Beast and the Blue Bend

Crude moonlight 
spilled from her.

The red tipped beast 
moved out of the shed
into her blueness.

He bayed
but all she could do
was shine fuller.

It was excruciating.
All of this evidence.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Developing a Sheet of Something

Some photographers use hammers.
Some employ lips like light brushes.
Some narrow the lips and suck 
as though on a lemon or a conch.
Some photographers turn out the lights
leaving their cameras to sleep beneath lids
in little boxes. Like mice with contortionist's bodies.
Some prefer to wear their boxes on trains
with suspenders, cutting out little holes
through which they can pulse their hungry sexes.
Some photographers pretend to ignore you.
But photographers never ignore you.
Even when they're ignoring you.
Some photographers think they're dead.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


having had to plot for months the sun in order to dry our clothes, with the arrival of the first frost it makes no sense to turn a dial. instead my limbs long to bend. my hands yearn to heft the mighty block.

compressed in green wood
red fire ants
minute passions of god 

rupture the mighty egg
sog the crude flour and salt
biscuits, brilliant biscuits!

amber socks, gold soothes
and scarlet rips at livers
autumn changes

Saturday, October 15, 2016

paper chains, notes

we are sitting together in a circle around the food we will eat. each of us has a filing cabinet behind him or herself, a length of coloured folders ordered in a drawer with labels. some of us lovingly stroke the tabs and pull folders from the drawers like moving little locks of hair off the forehead. one or two have briskly closed their drawers and refuse to open them. it's later in the meal i dare to recall a quiet memory that exists in all our drawers in a kind of ghost's clothing. remember that christmas we planned to go to camp and how much we looked forward to it? yes, yes, everyone agrees and comes closer to the candle's light, the night has grown darker. and remember what it was going to be like? yes, yes, everyone breathes and the candle's flame trembles. and then remember how there was a storm and we couldn't get through to the camp because the roads were all closed and how we were sad because we had no decorations, no presents, no food? yes, we remark, startled. and then remember the scissors cutting through the faded green and red construction paper as we made long coloured chains to string across the rooms? yes...

it is quiet in the circle but for the sound of cutting.

it was a scheduled power outage
the last time we convinced the children to walk with us
the power of the sun overcoming each photograph

autumn's cold
heavy like stones in the limbs

sweet relief from one stove element

along the bank
wherever they dragged my father's sodden body out
otters may slide

Friday, October 14, 2016

Default Culture, notes and mementos, cultch

Default Psychology

The wanderer
sets out on his journey
knowing one thing

Whatever befalls
he is victim


Both these things are true:


I created a myth. A home. A place of imagination and safety. A red house. The little fortress which boomed upon the hill. With a key in its back which played music. And how it trotted its smoke out upon the sky in the form of horses!

And then I. Not the figure in black. But I. Broke it. Tore its boards from its back. Set it ablaze. Sold it. Twisted its music. And chased each hungry foal off into night.

My son aches.


My son simply grew up.


Both these things are true:


My parents created a myth. A fable. A place with four legs that could double as a boat or an island. A little fortress which floated through the night and grew limestone columns at daybreak. And how its bread rose like dappled light upon my cheekbones!

And then the river lashed back. A snake. Struck. Took the father's body back into blackness. Leaving us each alone. With bits of rusk. No slake.

I ache.


I simply grew up.



"Memory is the lasso with which we capture the past and haul it from chaos towards us 
   in nicely ordered sequences, like those of baroque keyboard music."          Angela Carter 

This is a story          In which                        The little boy
Believes                    He has                           Lost his way
Not his fault             Of course                      The world has caused
The fault                   He's been diverted         Fire
Water                        Death                             Divorce
Girl                           This is your story         Too
Wind                         Wind chimes                  Silence
You've a lasso           Cast by heart                 Named blame


The work 
of the wanderer 
is to get beyond the hill

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Little One

It's not mystery I want.

For when I roll up at work
by my one hand
I'm intent upon making my dollar
by taking yours and twisting it twice 
to make more by the other.

It's not mystery I want.

For when my boot descends
and hits the solid tar
the little sparrow hops 
from the fringed edge of the lot
as though everywhere were home
and everything were an umbrella.

It's not mystery I want. 

I want everything except the sparrow
to disappear.
I want the world to roll up
and leave us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


at the ground
naming things
at the earth
like a bug   
filling our hands
and calling our hands
calling what falls from our hands
Watching the columns crumble
at the ground 
at the earth
knowing the sky is two-thirds
Thinking the sky is empty
is freedom from words
But knowing it is not

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


We're playing cards, 
a game of chance 
married with some skill,
when the poorness 
of my manipulation 
must finally be explained.

It's in my thumb, I show her, 
and extends around 
its base like a tidy unit.
I can't open things. 
Sometimes I can't even undo buttons.
Just wait, she gestures 
showing me the severity of hers, 
wild deformation.

And suddenly
all those years of her complaints
as I was growing up 
fill my hand
and like drawing on a poison 
the ache intensifies
as though to understand 
her pain's bloom
I needed to become 
a comparable vessel, a vase.

I wanted to turn to her then and ask, 
And do you feel the gambit of torment
I experience as joy and love, Mum?

Monday, October 10, 2016

more than horse, of course (dismantling the noun), notes

before i forget, and I am already forgetting, as though my mind has a hand and as I reach out to touch last night's dream my fingers' touch erase every seam, I was standing before a class in a black turtleneck sweater delivering some repetitive stance, with the student body barely listening and so I raised my voice over the din. I could tell it was real for as loud as my voice was it was never quite strongly enough projected. over this group, or any group, I had no control. my voice faltered, and I stumbled over my intended message as though upon a pitted path until I was done with that and began to weave the right one to garner their gaze out of thin air. every person in that class knew me. a few of them in body, a smidge more than twaddle. whose body is this? I cleaved this question through the passel of my peers, my teacher behind me with eyes blunt and burning. they turned toward me and seemed to be about to see me for the first time, whose mind, whose thoughts, whose identity? they had all been standing about to leave, their books resting upon their insufficient desks, literature, I guess. 

with whose mind, I cut. 

and with whose thoughts, twice again. 

with identity, I finished the last long strand on the right side of my head. 

the class was a teaming mound of ants on a steaming pile of shit, agitated, eager to quip, depart, nervous in disorder. 

I stood before them altered. the hair on my head, yes, half long, half short, but between this lack of symmetry the real change, my shoulders like an iron rack struck and carefully convulsing. I could see them as though I were standing just behind my own head. I was strong like a stallion. heat was pouring off me in a cobalt blue mane. and the energy moving through my core, at first alien - then eclipsed my last ounce of self completely. I was a new me, transformed, no - transfigured, a truth spewing god who had not answers, but only the terror of questions, seductively rebarbative in this animal's bridled stead.
pass the tea, she says
and so she passes the tea
taking the cavity of drink into her own hands

over turkey we recount our family myths
baby steps, crying, and nights of doing dishes
the bronzed turkey legs relax to spill the stuffing

it is night when they travel home
each face glows like a little moon between the right and left strands of hair
later she'll dream of her face held by hands, then scissors

Sunday, October 9, 2016

master and slave

thinking about
how to succeed in this world
really thinking about it
regarding all the busy people
really thinking about success
seriously plotting it

i have to admit
what i want is to network with acorns

Saturday, October 8, 2016

tabulation zero

my husband asks me what it is about nothingness which so attracts me
along with such a reputable as mr. wright who's out back motionless in his folding chaise

charles has walked shyly down like a familiar lover toward the sun's pulsing
where he'll sit all day weighing the bodies of dragonflies that will never light nor stay

i think he might weigh a hundred and forty-five pounds himself
i'm not sure, i've not asked and it doesn't stipulate in any of his biographies

yet tomorrow the green sprigged grasses crushed by his chaise's legs will toss off their arches
and under future moons cats will stalk through the domestic jungle as ravenous as panthers

Friday, October 7, 2016

storms and motherhood, notes

right before the children leave for school the world is still. and then booms like a door knocked upon in the night, three times. thunder. there is lightening in the distance as though someone comes toward us with a lantern. hanging in my brain like veils are vestigial notions of my mother. a morning such as this meant she would be left alone in it, in the dark home, making sure the boat wasn't battered to bits through the day, securing the drum that we would weary home into.

now rain. lots and lots of rain tearing leaves from the trees. it sounds like a single fearsome and determined body.
my mother imprinted a kind of motherhood over me
it swoops like the shadow of a falcon
i can neither keep pace nor escape
i get home late with groceries

yet frying the scallions and sausages
i make my way rankly into my children's stomachs

the television glows our little fire
each limb stacked against the other
tinder hot enough to brand

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Black and Ugly Truth

"We are a people who must decline or perish."
                                                 Wendell Berry

There is a dark spider resting near the back baluster 
near the bottom of my basement stairs.

   I keep avoiding it. 

It sinks back, straining its face, 
flexing its ragged appendages.

   It is Nigeria.

Or what is going on between/inside all of us.


There is no way to separate the seventy-five thousand children dying from starvation in Nigeria from our own economy. There is no way to separate what goes on between disparate groups vying for power in Nigeria or elsewhere, from the tumult of our own souls.

Monday, October 3, 2016

a few poems about persepctive, with spit in their eyes

autumn sonata

thank god fall has finally arrived! 
had enough with the sweetly stink of summer!
some of us don't have colgate smiles.
we wretched prefer the home of haggard.
beleaguered we, with leaflet slits for eyes.
bodies like this, pulp pounded, make way for love and sorrow. 


a well proportioned caricature

big oaf
7/8ths fisherman knit sweater
protruding duck's bill brow 
slanted slit of a mouth
sprouted feet
dainty handed

your hands are your joy
you must wait to encounter them


put-putt, smoke the little logs

from the middle of town
the little chimneys put up their important plumes

while in the distance the great mountains remain ensconced
chain mail curtains of mists prevail, dynastically

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Soul Wants a Launching and an Anchor of Form

I want lunch.
I want happiness.
I want tomorrow.

No, no, I want my two hands to clash to make a dove,
My eyeballs to become the healed world,
My heart to barricade the burgundy walls, 
To. keep. safe. the house.

No, no, I want my chest to unfurl like a carpet.
I want to climb it like stairs.
Or better yet a minaret,
Becoming, as a consequence of all the swirls, 

Finally a child again. 
I want to raise my eyes and blam!
Become an earthly king.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

notes on the coldest terror

when it is truly a terror which lies in your past you don't dare in reverse approach it.

my son is beside me. we make reference to last year.

i don't like to think on it, i say. something in my self has already jumped upon the brindled horse and is racketing its rear.

me neither, he breathes, his breath taking the shape of a man whipping.

what could it have been which scared us so deeply?

more frightening than dead done death
is death's pre-consummation
     void eating heart's fringes